Rajar Q1 2019: National stations and networks

16 May 2019 
Rajar Q1 2019: National stations and networks

As Rajar releases its 2019 Q1 results for the radio market, Mediatel presents the key findings showing station and network reach, share and average listening hours

Reach

For four consecutive quarters, Total Global Radio has recorded almost no change to its weekly reach.

With 15 national stations, Global has a total reach of just over 23.5m listeners – a change of -0.6% on last quarter and a decline of -0.7% year-on-year.

Some of the best performing Global stations include Heart Brand with more than 9.7m listeners (down -0.9% quarter-on-quarter, and up 1.6% year-on-year), Capital Brand with almost 8.2m listeners (-1% QoQ and -0.8% YoY); Smooth Brand with 5.7m listeners (-2.2% QoQ and +3.9% YoY), and Classic FM with 5.3m (-0.4% QoQ and -5.2% YoY).

LBC also performed well – recording its highest reach in 47 years at 2.25m.

Global still owns some struggling stations, however, most notably The Arrow at the very bottom of the rankings with just 56,000 listeners (although the station was up 24.4% in Q1).

Bauer Radio Total – still second in the rankings - lost 254,000 listeners in the final quarter of 2019, down -1.4% to 17.7m listeners. However, the network was up 1.1% year-on-year.

Some of its best performing stations recorded declines, but still draw in large audiences; Hits Radio Brand has 6.1m listeners (-1.5% QoQ, -8% YoY), and Kiss Network more than 5.2m (-6.4% QoQ, -5.6%).

Other Bauer stations, such as Magic Network and Absolute Radio Network were also down in Q1.

However, gains were made by stations such as Kisstory (+2.2% QoQ), Planet Rock (+11% QoQ) and Absolute 80s (17.4% QoQ).

Outside of commercial giants Bauer and Global, talkSPORT and Wireless Group helped lift the entire commercial market to its highest reach on record.

TalkSPORT was up 3.2% to more than 3m listeners, while Wireless Group was up 6.1% to almost 5.1m.

Elsewhere, the BBC’s Radio 2 was up 3.1% at the start of the year to reach more than 15.3m weekly listeners - proving things can work out just fine without Chris Evans.

And good news for new entry JACK radio, which launched last year with a platform for largely mainstream, and entirely female-only music. The station was up almost 52% in Q1 and 37% YoY to 305,000 listeners.

Share of listening

The first quarter of 2019 was another steady month for radio in terms of share of listening, as the market again recorded no significant changes.

Global continues to claim the lion’s share of listening at 20.7%, following a marginal -0.1pp drop QoQ.

The second largest share belongs to BBC Radio 2, though it fell 0.7pp over the quarter to 17.4%, while Bauer Radio (Total)’s share was down -0.5pp to 14.9%.

Meanwhile, Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) saw its share of listening rise 0.4pp QoQ to 13.1%, putting its share exactly on par with its share last year.

The next largest shares belong to Global’s Heart Brand (UK) with a 6.6% share, Heart Network (UK) with 5.8%, BBC Radio 1 with 5.7% and Bauer’s Hits Radio Brand with 5.0%.

Average hours per listener

Sister stations BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 continue the merry-go-round for top spot in the average hours per listener rankings, with BBC Radio 4 reclaiming the lead last quarter by an average of 6 minutes per week.

While Radio 4 averaged 11.7 hours - no change on the last quarter of 2018 - Radio 2’s share dropped -4.9% to 11.6 hours, down from 12.2.

Elsewhere, BBC 6 Music overtook Global’s LBC Network (UK), with the BBC’s digital-only station growing its listening hours by 10% QoQ to 9.9 hours - just under one extra hour a week per listener. On the other hand, LBC’s hours fell -3% QoQ to 9.6.

Despite this, Total Global Radio (UK) network recorded no change in its overall listening hours for the quarter, remaining steady at 8.9. However, Bauer Radio Total saw its average hours fall -2.3% to 8.5.

Perhaps as a result of Chris Evans’ newly-launched breakfast show, Virgin Radio saw the largest boost to its listening hours, up 57.9% to 6 hours from 3.8.

Meanwhile, some of the worst performing stations include BBC Asian Network UK (-18.9% to 4.3 hours), Radio X Network (UK) (-8% to 8.1 hours) and Capital XTRA (-14.6% to 3.5 hours).

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Additional content is available in this article for Mediatel Connected subscribers.

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DATA SNAPSHOT

19 Jul 2019 

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